We at Quinndefense wish everyone happy holidays. With everyone doing last-minute shopping and traveling great distances to see loved ones, it is important to maintain self-awareness because evil never rests.

Last Call! – If you are looking for last-minute christmas ideas, check out our equipment section!

Traveling with a firearm

Aside from Federal laws, each state in the USA has different rules on traveling with a firearms by plane, train or automobile. It is your responsiblity to review their laws and follow them. Ignorance is not a defense. Granted, state laws change frequently and is hard to keep up with them all! Don’t worry, we have found an app that has answers to your questions and is updated monthly. It is called: CCW . However, to get free information directly, call the state police to learn more information.

Now that you know which states are firearm friendly (unlike NY), lets cover what you will need to store that firearm of yours for a plane trip!
Please note, even if you have a firearm permit, or work for law enforcement, TSA has the final say in any discussion!

What you will need:

  • Review TSA rules before coming to the airport. It is a good idea to arrive at the airport an hour early for additional security screenings.
  • Review rules with the airline (e.g. AA) as each airline has different rules in storing firearms & ammo.
  • Select a hard case for travel. We suggest Pelican 1200 case for handguns. For shotguns/rifles, it all depends on your budget and how many you will be bringing. No matter what the case size however, you can’t go wrong with Pelican brand.
  • Select a “lock-and-key” such as Master Padlock for your new hard case as any brand will do EXCEPT TSA-ACCEPTED LOCKS! TSA rules state you must be the only person that can open the lock to the firearm(s), not even TSA agents can open it.   Therefore, if you are shopping and find a lock (e.g Brinks 161-20471 TSA Approved..) that TSA agents can open your case by themselves, Do NOT buy it. Otherwise, you are looking at steep fines and/or jail time. We can not stress this enough!
  • Now that you have your Padlocks, be prepared for a fight with TSA if they try to get you to release your padlock keys to them while they inspect the firearm with or without you present. To clear the air, be sure to read and bring a copy of title 49 of Code of Federal Regulations:
    • Title 49: Transportation, Part 1540 – Civil Aviation Security: General Rules, Subpart B – Responsibilities of Passengers and Other Individuals and Persons, 1540.111 (c) (iv) – The container in which it is carried is locked, and only the passenger retains the key or combination.


    • Title 49: Transportation, Part 1544 – Aircraft Operator Security: Air Carriers and Commercial Operators,  Subpart C – Operations, 1544.203 (f) (iii) The container in which it is carried is locked, and only the individual checking the baggage retains the key or combination;


    • NOTE: If you are brought into a private room for TSA to search your case, all you should do is open the case with your key and back away. Do NOT handle the firearm as it is illegal to do so in an airport. Let TSA check to see the firearm is indeed unload (and magazines/moonclips) and when they tell you they are finished, lock the case and allow them to send it to the plane.
  • Be prepared to pay fees for checking your firearm case. If you have read the TSA rules earlier, you would know that you can NOT carry on your case!
  • Most importantly, remember to declare your firearm with a checking agent by presenting your concealed permit. This will save you from saying “I have a firearm to check” thus bringing unwanted attention on you and your bag. It is also required to be on your possession at all times in most states, so bring it with you.


There you have it! The basic checklist for traveling on airplanes with firearms and complying with TSA rules. Please check with your CCW app for all other information or contact us.